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Thread: Bowling a heavy ball

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    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    Bowling a heavy ball

    Inspired by the efforts of Vernon Philander in the current test versus Sri Lanka.

    The speed gun is showing him around the 133kmh mark, which my calculator tells me is roughly 82.5mph, but the ball appears to be fairly whistling through to Boucher and landing in his gloves with a satisfying thud.

    Vern seems to be one of those bowlers who balls "a heavy ball", spoken of by commentators of a certain age with reverence & awe. I suppose in Philander's case the perception is amplified by him moving the ball off the seam very appreciably, but for a chap whose stock delivery is slower throught the air than (say) Luke Wright's he hurries the batsmen up quite a lot.

    I've long been of the opinion that speed gun velocities are a pretty poor way of measuring a bowler's actual pace and that TV coverage misses a trick by not also recording the time it takes from release to reach the batter. I do wonder if this measurement would back up one's instinct that bowlers like Philander disquiet batsmen with speed despite a (relative) lack of speed gun speed.

    Thoughts? Nominations for bowlers who send down a "heavy" delivery? Or those who seem slower than the gun would have us believe?
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    International Coach KiWiNiNjA's Avatar
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    Bowler should all have to bowl with the same ball.

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    International Coach Zinzan's Avatar
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    It's an interesting phenomenon alright. Heavy ball exponents I can think of include;

    Andre Nel
    Brian McMillan
    Hamish Bennett
    Danny Morrison
    Merv Hughes
    Andrew Caddick
    Andrew Flintoff

    and more recently .... Doug Bracewell

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    Trent Boult looked quicker than the speed wotsit was registering v Aus.


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    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinzan12 View Post
    It's an interesting phenomenon alright. Heavy ball exponents I can think of include;

    Andre Nel
    Brian McMillan
    Hamish Bennett
    Danny Morrison
    Merv Hughes
    Andrew Caddick
    Andrew Flintoff

    and more recently .... Doug Bracewell
    Bracewell's an interesting one for me. A lot of the chaps you've mentioned are all fairly tall (Morrison excepted), but Dougeh (like Philander actually) isn't a giant as seam bowlers go.

    My guess is that taller blokes appear to be quicker than they are because their trajectories are conducive to getting good carry off the the pitch. With the shorter chaps it's maybe harder to explain. Is it movement or is it "kissing" the pitch so speed isn't lost on impact?

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    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    Hitting the seam perfectly most of the time has to help.
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    Cummins was bowling 130s in SA and still looked quick.

    Watson and Kallis also have these balls.
    Last edited by TumTum; 17-12-2011 at 05:12 AM.

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    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TumTum View Post
    Watson and Kallis also have these balls.
    Funny you mention Watson. When he first came onto the international scene he bowled whatever the opposite of a heavy ball is. He'd send them down at 145kmh, but they were invariably gun-barrel straight and very rarely troubled the batsmen. I'd also put Mohammad Sami & Luke Wright in the "deceptively slow" catagory.

    Now Watson's down around and below the 130kmh mark, swings it and generally looks a much better bowler.

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    Just came in to post Watto and Kallis actually.

    Back in the day Oram couldn't lay hands on a cricket ball without commentators saying he bowls a heavy ball with tennis ball bounce. I think it was mainly because he was a tall bloke banging it into the pitch back of a length, which means even his medium pacers made a thud. Could have been more than a decent bowler if he didn't get all those pace sapping injuries.

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    International Captain thierry henry's Avatar
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    Watto bowls a light ball. He used to hit 145 and it never looked fast.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Seam movement/hitting the splice, in my experience = heavy ball.
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    International Captain Ruckus's Avatar
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    I always thought a heavy ball was describing one which skids off the pitch. I didn't think it was making a special reference to speed. Ryan Harris is someone I'd say has a heavy ball, but he actually looks like he bowls slower than the speed gun indicates. Might be wrong about the definition though.

  13. #13
    Virat Kohli (c) Jono's Avatar
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    Nothing to do with speed. A heavy ball relies on the length and where it hits the bat. If you bang it in at a length that hits the splice, it will seem faster than a quick half volley. It isn't faster.

    Watto at his peak got the ball to the batsman quicker than philander does. He was quicker, that is a fact. But he didn't bowl hat length and hit the splice or have it jump off from a length by hitting the seam.

    Heavy ball and speed are different issues that get mixed up.
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    International Captain thierry henry's Avatar
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    tbh this whole thread surely defies basic laws of physics, but I was just playing along. A bowler is as fast as the speedo says, end of. Humans are biased for all sorts of dumbarse reasons.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
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    As a general rule, the faster you run in (with numerous exceptions), the 'lighter' the ball, given a constant bowling speed. Comparison being Simon Jones Vs Mohammad Sami?
    The speed at which a fielding team gets through the innings is overrated.

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